First, What Are You Reading? Volume 31 (Easter edition)

Here are the questions I ask and answer on the first of each month.  I’m so incredibly grateful that it is Easter, in so many ways.  There are so many wonderful things to celebrate in this season of joy.

The questions, as always, are:

first, what are you reading?
what do you like best about it?
what do you like least?
what’s next on your list to read?

As always, I hope you’ll consider your current reads on your blog and/or sharing here in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. Happy reading!

First, what are you reading?

I’ve actually been reading a lot these days, but not writing about it very much.

My husband and I were out to lunch with a (Franciscan) priest friend, and he  enthused about Francis of Assissi: A New Biography by Augustin Thompson, O.P.    So I ordered it from the library.

I’ve been interested to read what Pope Francis is saying in his homilies, and so I’ve been reading those as they are published.

I’m also reading and re-reading a lot of picture books with my kids in preparation for a new feature here on Reading Catholic.

What do you like best about it?

Francis of Assisi is a scholarly work, and while it’s a bit of a challenge, I’ really enjoying this life of St. Francis.    Thompson goes back extensively to original sources and Francis’ own writings to put together an exhaustive view of the saint’s life and times. Fascinating to me: the custom at the time was for babies to receive First Holy Communion the day after their baptism; so Francis most likely did.  In addition, Francis was really particular not that his followers would beg for alms to survive, but rather work at manual labor (day jobs) to support themselves.

In addition to the history lesson I’m getting, this is also an eminently quotable book, no doubt about it.  Here’s what I have just from Thompson’s introduction, finishing with what he learned most from the life of Francis:

First, he taught me that the love of God is something that remakes the soul, and doing good for others follows from this; it is not merely doing good to others.

Second, rather than a call to accomplish any mission, program, or vision, a religious vocation is about a change in one’s perception of God and creation.

Third, true freedom of spirit, indeed true Christian freedom, comes from obedience, not autonomy.

Last–and I hope this subverts everything I have just written–there are no ready and clear roads to true Christian holiness.

I’m only a few chapters into the book, and I’ve already written down many more quotes.

Here is one quote from Pope Francis that I really enjoyed; it’s from his homily at Tuesday Chrism Mass:

This I ask you: be shepherds, with the “odour of the sheep”, make it real, as shepherds among your flock, fishers of men. ….Dear lay faithful, be close to your priests with affection and with your prayers, that they may always be shepherds according to God’s heart.

I have to say that my husband pointed out that quote, and translated it (before the official Vatican translation) as “a shepherd should smell like his flock.”

What do you like least about it?

Nothing; I am really enjoying everything about this book.

What’s next on your list to read?

I pre-ordered the new book by the Heath brothersDecisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life & Work.  I really need this book, and I have enjoyed very much their other books.

This isn’t exactly reading, but now that it’s Easter, I can’t resist sharing one video from an hilarious series on Youtube called “Kid Snippets.”  (HT to “I Wonder Why”).

The videos superimpose kids’ imagining different scenarios, and then adults acting them out.  Yesterday, I laughed so loud at this one about math.  Enjoy the laugh:

What are you reading (or laughing at) these days?